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William Smith strangled cancer-stricken wife Michelle at home in Rochester

A mum battling cancer thought she was going to die after being strangled by her husband of 17 years in a row over money, a court heard.

William Smith attacked his wife, Michelle at their home in Wilson Avenue, Rochester, on Sunday, November 18, after she refused to hand over £800 her son had previously borrowed from him.

She is alleged to have grabbed him by the neck and scratched him, which “enraged” Smith, and resulted in him strangling her and pinning her up against the kitchen wall, Maidstone Magistrates’ Court was told.

William Smith leaves court
William Smith leaves court

It was also claimed he assaulted his wife again on a sofa and threatened to kill her, though this was denied by the defendant.

Shortly after, Smith turned himself into the police, telling officers “I’ve done something very silly”, and he was arrested.

A victim impact statement revealed the couple’s marriage had broken down over the past two years and that Mrs Smith was receiving palliative care for leukaemia and lymphoma.

She said: “We have been together 19 years and he should be the one supporting me, rather than harming me.

“I’ve only been getting two or three hours sleep a night and feeling anxious. Every time I hear a noise I fear it’s him coming to harm me.”

“We have been together 19 years and he should be the one supporting me, rather than harming me..." - Michelle Smith

She added: “The assault came as a complete shock. I genuinely believed I was going to die.

“I thought the cancer was the thing that was going to take me, not him.”

The court was told Smith had recently been diagnosed as suffering from stress and was “disgusted with himself for losing his self control”.

The 58-year-old engineer admitted one count of assault by beating and was sentenced to a 12-month community order, including a two-month curfew between 8pm and 6am.

He was also issued with a restraining order preventing him from seeing his wife for two years.

In addition, he was ordered to pay the victim £500 in compensation and £170 court costs.

Smith pleaded guilty at court on the basis that he had been assaulted first.

Although the prosecution refused to accept this outcome, the courts allowed it as it would not have any effect on sentencing.

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